Knowing that you got the shot

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It’s Sunday morning and I am listening Scott Kelby’s “A walk in Rome”, which isn’t quite as good as the talk I recommended yesterday. I am looking through my own shots of that city.

I’m not sure what’s happened but I was never able to shoot pleasing travel pictures before, and now all of a sudden I am. I started getting better results around the time I started shooting micro four-thirds, which suggests it may be about having a wide angle on the body. I had a 17mm on my Oly Pen. But photography is never about gear, is it? Then perhaps it’s because I walk more and see more. And specifically get up before dawn and go out for another round near sunset to catch that good light.

Looking through the gallery of pictures I took in Rome, ther are a lot of very pretty dawn and sunset shots, taken outdoors. But the picture that I’m happiest with is this one of a statue inside the Vatican Museums. And that’s because I remember the moment taking the picture so clearly.

This statue stood in a hallway between galleries, I’d just gone in and out of one where the light was bad and the art didn’t appeal to me. I walked by this statue and as I did, the sun hit the back and gave it its golden aura. I’d just put my camera away so I had to dig it out of my bag quickly, knowing that the light might change again any moment. I took the shot quickly and knew that I had it. What I mean with that is knowing that you captured the moment and won’t have to fiddle with it in Photoshop too much.

This is one of the most satisfying things in photography. Taking a shot and knowing that you got what you had in mind.

Shoot Tokyo: Setting up your shots

Dave Powell has a popular photography blog called ‘Shoot Tokyo’ and a book of the same name. In this video he explains his “Setting the stage’ technique which has made me rethink my own style of shooting or lack of it. I tend to keep walking and walking and shooting a lot, often shooting too much. I’m not sure if I have the patience to set things up quite like Dave, but having thought about this technique has made me stop for longer and look for longer than I usually do.

Anton Corbijn: a national treasure in The Hague

Two times in the last month I’ve gone to see Anton Corbijn’s double exhibition at the Photo museum and the Municipal Museum in The Hague. The first time we were late and in a rush, but I did manage to shoot a few pictures of the man himself as he faced a two hour long queue lining up to get his catalogue signed. We didn’t queue.

Three weeks later, I took my time to see both exhibitions again and marvel at Anton Corbijn’s vision. These retrospective, wonderfully presented, shows made me more appreciative of his talent than I’ve been in the last few years. You could say I’d been taking it for granted.

I hadn’t seen his latest work, “Inwards and Onwards“, which I think is phenomenal. He’s dropped the laboured post processing (a big part of his look was created through the printing proces) and now creates what he wants more in-camera. The prints are a different kind of black. They often had a brownish, reddish hue before, due to the lith proces, but the newer prints now have a cleaner look, a fresher kind of matte black. Corbijn is shooting artists (painters, sculptors, writers, painters: Koon, Lucien Freud, Hirst, Marlene Dumas) rather than musicians – which made me see the work differently, not informed by my opinion of the music.

I may sneak in a third look.

Crush the Composition

I use a lot of Kelby’s tips and tricks from his ‘Photoshop for Photographers’ books. He can be an inspiring and funny voice in the very crowded world of photography bloggers, vloggers and blowhards.

I’d seen this before, but watched it again today. I particularly like how he works a scene to come to his shot. (the bit about the Taj Mahal) I can be lazy, too easily pleased. Photography takes time.